MAGIC & SECRETS

There is no magic in what I do. There are, however, fundamental philosophies I adhere to and methodologies I have picked up over the course of my career:

 

  • Design is fundamental to any business and technology. Just as IT has crucial design roles (software architect, data scientist, infrastructure architect) so too does a business require "architects" who can raise the right question and help answer it: How will this help us drive shareholder value? How will this benefit our customer? What will the experience be?

  • "Follow where the puck is going" is not a strategy. Being ahead of the curve has substantial risks. Be a surfer: anticiapte the wave and make sure to stay on top of it. I have failed by trying to be too innovative. Tune your innovation to be on top of that wave

  • Learn from adjacent possibilities[1] and from other industries. The problem you are trying to solve may have had a solution in the most unexpected places. While you are looking to develop a smarter patient record and overcome privacy, trust and security - financial services have leveraged blockchain to create ledgerless solutions and a virtual currency (bitcoin) has garnered the trust of millions around the globe who transact without any banks or 3rd party establishments

  • Understand the change impacts of your initiative. Whether you are changing the comp design of sales teams or deploying a new platform to employees/customers: change management philosophies and tools should be an integral part of your arsenal. This is not just IT change management but broader change design: who is affected? How will their role change? Which stakeholders are involved and how? How does this individual percieve the change and what do we need to do to get them to agree, acquiesce or overcome objections?

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[1] The term was coined by Steve Johnson in his book "Where good ideas come from"

Design

CREATIVE INTENT, FLAWLESS EXECUTION

DESIGN THINKING

IBM has a legacy of great design, dating back to a golden era ushered by Thomas Watson, Jr. He brought in a slew of famous designers, including the Eames, Paul Rand, and Elliot Noyes to work on product and marketing. IBM’s design thinking framework focuses on clients -­‐ both customers and users. This framework was devised not just to create great user experiences but also to deliver them in complex matrix organizations.

PROCESS DESIGN/PROCESS EXCELLENCE

Lean is a systematic method for the elimination of waste ("Muda") to focus only on customer value adding activities in a process. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process . I am a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. At GE/NBC Universal I was the Lean Six Sigma deployment leader responsible for certification and training.

STRATEGY & INNOVATION TOOLS

My favorite tools and methods include:

  • Mindmapping, a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas. Developed by Tony Buzan who authored the seminal book on the topic. I use Freemind (open source) and Mindjet MindManager

  • TRIZ (acronym is from Russian, don't even try): a fascinating methodology developed by an inventory who was sent to the Gulag for his offer to improve the Soviet Army's failings*. After researching thousands of patents he found surprising commonalities which can be used to innovate and solve problems in any field!

  • Journey Mapping: borrowed from the agency world, Customer journey maps — also known as touchpoint or moment-of-truth maps — are documents that visually illustrate a customer's processes, needs, and perceptions over the course of her relationship with a company. Companies use customer journey maps in two ways: 1) to plan customer experience projects, and 2) to communicate with employees across the organization.

  • Persona Analysis: Personas are models of the key behaviors, attributes, motivations, and goals of a company's target customers. A persona is created from primary research with real customers and takes the form of a vivid narrative description of a single person who represents a behavioral segment. Organizations use personas to guide the design of products, channels, and messaging.

  • Component Business Model (CBM): A framework which documents the core business components that power every type of business along 3 layers (strategic, operational and tactical).CBM give you a systemic approach to the implementation of change programs, designing products/services for the enterprise or measuring business performance. Here is a description of CBM

* Note to self: don't tell Stalin the Soviet Army is failing if you don't want to spend a decade in the Gulag

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